BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Rotary Club held an awards ceremony in the spirit of Youth Day at its regular meeting Friday at Mount Anthony Country Club.
Every year, the club, as part of Rotary International, awards four $2,000 scholarships to local seniors who exhibit outstanding community service and are moving on to higher education.
Out of 10 applicants for the scholarship, Foram Patel, Kyle Strubel, Ryan Sauer and Autumn Hausthor were the award recipients. All are members of Mount Anthony Union High School's Interact Club. Sauer and Hausthor attended and were recognized at the meeting.
"We had 10 great applicants and it was almost too hard to choose," said Jim Thibodeau of the Rotary Club's scholarship committee as he announced the recipients. "There were approximately 1,000 hours given back to our community (this year) by members of Interact and our scholarship recipients. That's a lot of time, and that's what this is all about."
Sauer will be attending the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., to study engineering in the fall. In his scholarship application essay, he wrote about his hours spent volunteering at Second Chance Animal Shelter. He said what he learned there will give him the knowledge to help animals in the future.
"I don't plan on going into a future of veterinary or anything, but if there is an animal in need, I will certainly help," Sauer said. "I am going to spend the end of my summer in the youth program, too."
Hausthor will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., also to study engineering, in the fall. She wrote about her volunteership with the Wings to Fly program, using writing as a form of auditory verbal therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders or other communication disabilities.
"I wrote about how incredible and inspirational it was to deal with these kids and learn how to communicate with them," Hausthor said. "I'm looking forward to go to RIT because it's one of the top deaf schools in New York, so I'm definitely going to be minoring in sign language."
In addition to its scholarships, the Rotary Club presents the "student achievement award" to one high school student who displays outstanding academic excellence.
Nominated by his school guidance counselors, MAU junior Ben Hulett received the award for his involvement with the engineering program at the Career Development Center, his excelling grades in honors classes and involvement with extracurricular activities and athletics. Hulett is also four merit badges away from becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest honor awarded by the Boy Scouts of America. "I like helping in the community through Scouts. It's a nice way to help others even if they don't realize they are being helped," Hulett said.
Hulett has a year to think, but said he wants to go into graphic design. He has started sending in college applications to Sage College, Champlain College, The College of Saint Rose and New England Technical Institute.
To find more information about the Rotary Club, or for student applications and nomination forms for future scholarships and awards, visit http://www.benningtonrotary.com/.
Contact Tom Momberg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg.